South African batting great Barry Richards believes pace bowler Kagiso Rabada’s rapid rise in international cricket will help South Africa to heal their pain in the absence of bowling spearhead Dale Steyn. Also Read - India vs England: Ravichandran Ashwin on Verge of Becoming Second Fastest Bowler to Pick 400 Wickets, England Captain Joe Root Calls India Spinner 'World-Class Bowler'
Steyn, who has long been nurturing his shoulder injury, has been ruled out of the four-match Test series due to painful shoulder. The renowned fast bowler has been out of action since the end of last year. Also Read - South African Strain of COVID-19 Detected in 4 Returnees, 1 Found Positive For Brazil Variant, Says Govt
In absence of Steyn, the 22-year-old Rabada delivered and the filled the void. He made his debut against India 2015 in November and has picked up 71 wickets in 17 Test matches at a brilliant average of 23.69. Also read: ICC Women’s World Cup 2017: All you need to know about India’s Smriti Mandhana Also Read - Pawri Ho Rahi Hai: Pakistan Cricket Team Joins Viral Trend As Pacer Hasan Ali Shares Hilarious Version | Watch
“I think a lot of people were really wobbly about Steyn and the injuries he’s had, the age group, he’s in,” Richards was quoted by AFP.
“Then Rabada popped out of the woodwork and he’s been absolutely fantastic. He bowls at a good pace, nice, easy action. If conditions are right, he’ll swing its way which is a real asset for a fast bowler,” added Richards.
“From a South African point of view, he’s been fantastic for us and really lessened the pain of Dale Steyn not being in the set-up.
“But I think our fast-bowling stocks are pretty good. (Chris) Morris as an all-rounder, and then (Morne) Morkel — he always looks like he should do well but he always bowls that yard too short for me, so even when his good ball beats the bat it goes over the stumps.” Also read: ICC Women’s World Cup 2017: All you need to know about India’s Smriti Mandhana
Meanwhile, medium pacer Vernon Philander missed South Africa’s three-day warm-up game against England Lions due to an ankle injury. He suffered while playing for Sussex.
Richards feels Philander’s injury is also a concern for the Proteas.
“Vernon is a worry for us for this coming series because he’s been in and out of injury. He’s fantastic when he’s on the song but he needs to need to keep his pace above 128 kph (79.5 mph). If his pace falls below that, he doesn’t become as effective because it doesn’t nip as quick you can adjust. But it’s hard to bowl at 128 and above for 20 overs a day. If there’s a little bit in the wicket, he’s a major factor,” said Richards.